Acclamation wins again at Hollywood Park with victory in Whittingham handicap

If Hollywood Park had year-round racing, Acclamation might never lose. The 5-year-old son of Unusual Heat has won six races in 25 starts, and five have come running over the Inglewood track’s turf course, including Saturday’s triumph in the $250,000 Grade I Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap.

Acclamation joins John Henry as the only multiple winners of the Whittingham Handicap. Ridden by Joe Talamo, Acclamation won by 31/2 lengths over Celtic New Year in a wire-to-wire performance in the 11/4-mile race. Bourbon Bay finished third.

“Man, we had a great trip,” Talamo said. “He’s always a little slow out of the gate, so I had to send him a little bit, but once he got to the lead, he just cruised around there.”

Trained by Don Warren, Acclamation won the Jim Murray Memorial Handicap at 11/2 miles May 14 at Hollywood Park and his next start could be the Hollywood Gold Cup on the main track.


With leading rider Joel Rosario in New York and England over the next week, Talamo and Rafael Bejarano are taking aim at moving past him in the jockey standings. Talamo and Bejarano each won three races Saturday.

Talamo guided the 2-year-old filly Killer Graces to victory in the $77,530 Cinderella Stakes at 51/2 furlongs.

Bejarano was aboard unbeaten Sarah’s Secret, who won her fourth consecutive start by taking the $150,000 Grade II Honeymoon Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at 11/8 miles on the turf by a half length over Star Billing. Cambina finished third.

“It was her first time going a distance, so I just let her break, and when I saw [Star Billing] tried to slow the pace, I took the lead into the first turn,” Bejarano said. “She showed me a big kick in the stretch. I wasn’t even whipping her.”

Trainer Bob Baffert showed off another top 3-year-old when Coil, a son of Point Given, won the $100,000 Affirmed Handicap, beating Runflatout by a length in the 11/6-mile race.

“I was hoping to get a good Point Given,” Baffert said. “He’s just getting better and better.”